Hari-katha Articles The Rules of Morality and Selfish Unselfishness

The Rules of Morality and Selfish Unselfishness

Now we will consider the ordinary activities of persons who follow the
philosophy of Materialism. They say: “Even though there is no God, no soul, and
no afterlife, human beings should still follow the rules of morality. By acting
morally one will attain happiness in this life, and by acting immorally one will be
placed in a fearful situation. These immoral activities are also called sins. If one
acts selflessly to make others happy, one’s own happiness will spontaneously
follow. Therefore one should follow the principles of morality. One should follow
morality and cast sins far away, for sins bring only troubles and sufferings. Nature
always has its own laws. Therefore, since every being is a part of nature, every
being must follow nature’s laws. Philosophers should try to discover the laws that
govern the material world. Pious happiness is the highest good attained in this
life. To attain one’s own happiness one should diligently try to discover and
follow nature’s laws.

If you say, “After death I will exist no longer. Why should I renounce my own unbridled pleasure and follow the rules of morality?”, then I reply: Your actions are not in vain. Even after your death they will not stop bringing results to others. After your death the actions you performed in your life will bring various results to various people in the world. If you married and begat children, gave your children and education and taught them about morality, then
your actions will bring results enjoyed by many people. If you earn money and
build schools, hostels for travelers, roads, bathing places, and other like things,
then many people will enjoy the results of your actions. If you say, “The results of
those actions will quickly perish,” then I reply: “Why should you not act? Your
actions will never perish. When they are mature, actions have a very wonderful
power. In the future these actions will become very powerful. They will make this
endless world a very exalted place. Therefore one should act without selfish

The philosophy of materialism collapses of its own accord. It is like a house
without a foundation or walls. No one will follow a religion without hope or fear
for what will happen in the afterlife. As their very name shows, the followers of
the philosophy of selfish material pleasures are all selfish. Indeed, the followers of
the philosophy of unselfish material pleasures are in truth selfish also. It is not
possible to follow the idea of unselfish material pleasures for long. Writing under
the pen name Mirabond, the philosopher Holbach wrote a book, “System of
Nature” in the year 1770. In that book he wrote, “Unselfishness does not exist in
this world. I say a good faith is one where one becomes happy by others’
happiness.” I see it that way also. Unselfish materialism has no meaning. It is like
a flower imagined to float in the sky. Unselfishness is merely a way to attain one’s
own happiness and freedom from troubles.

One thinks, “If people hear I am unselfish, they will trust me. Then I will easily attain my ends.” A mother’s love, brother’s love, friendship, and the love of a man and a woman: Are these unselfish? If they do not bring one’s own personal happiness, these kinds of
“love” do not last. To attain spiritual bliss at the end, some people pass their
whole lives in renunciation. Every religion and philosophy is based on
selfishness. Love of God is also selfish. It is everyone’s nature to be selfish. The
very phrase “one’s own nature” hints at selfishness. Selfishness is natural.
Unselfishness is very unnatural. Therefore it is never truly seen. Without the hope
of future life and future happiness, no one would perform any action. Persons of
purified intelligence are not attracted to Jaimini’s apurva philosophy or the life-force
philosophy of some western thinkers. Anyone who follows these
philosophies becomes cheated. In India even the smarta-panditas who quote
Jaimini’s apurva philosophy in their writing all believe in God’s grace and in a
blissful existence in a spiritual world. If they knew the truth, that Jaimini’s apurva
philosophy is opposed even to God’s existence, they would at once turn their
backs on Jaimini and his ideas. Jaimini knew well that belief in God naturally
stays in the hearts of human beings. Therefore in his apurva philosophy he
carefully and cunningly crafted an imaginary God who bestows the results of

Thus concealed under the cloak of belief in God, the atheistic karma-mimamsa
philosophy preached by the smarta-panditas has a strong following in
India. One person’s self interest often conflicts with another person’s self interest.
When a person of average intelligence hears the word “unselfishness”, he becomes
attracted, for he thinks that by following the philosophy of unselfishness his own
desires will be fulfilled. That is another reason the philosophy of atheistic
materialism has become widespread. How the preacher of the philosophy of
unselfish material pleasure induces his followers to act morally in the world is not
easily understood. Pushed by their own selfish desires, people may act morally for
some time, but when they think it over, they will eventually sin. They will say to
themselves: “0 my brother, don’t stay away from sense pleasures. Enjoy sense
pleasures as you like, as long as others do not know of them. Why not? I do not
think the world will collapse because of them. There is no God, an all-seeing God
who gives to us the results of our actions. What have you to fear? Just be a little
careful, so no one will know. If they learn of it, then you will lose your good
reputation, and perhaps the government or bad people will make trouble for you.
If that happens neither you nor others will be happy.” Know for certain that if the
hearts of the preachers of atheistic morality were examined, these thoughts would
be found.

One day a smarta-pandita prescribed the candrayana-vrata and other
harsh penances to a person who had asked him about the atonement for a certain
sin. Hearing this, the person said, “0 Bhattacarya Mahasaya, if I must perform a
candrayana-vrata for killing that spider, then your son, who was also implicated in
that act, must also perform that penance.” Seeing this would be a great calamity
for his son, the Bhattacarya Mahasaya turned two or four more pages in his big
book and said, “Aha. I made a mistake. Now I see. The books says: A dead spider
is only a piece of rag.” That being the case, you need not perform any atonement
at all.” The atheist smarta-panditas are like that. They accept the worship of God
only to promote their atheist philosophy. If sometimes they accept the ideas if an
afterlife and of a God who gives the results of actions, they accept these two ideas
only a subordinate parts of their karma philosophy. True devotion (bhakti) to
God is never seen in their ideas. It is seen that what is the beginning is
unselfishness gradually turns into selfishness.

To prevent this from happening some atheist karma-mimamsa philosophers accept the existence of a single all-knowing God who gives the results of actions. They then quote many passages from scripture to show how the worship of God is a part of the karma-mimamsa
philosophy. In this way they accept an imaginary God. Comte, fearing that
morality would not be taken seriously, imagined a God that would be considered
real. Comte was more honest. Jaimini was more farsighted. Comte’s trickery
was caught, and therefore his idea of imaginary worship of God never attracted
many followers. Jaimini had a deeper understanding, and therefore his karma-mimamsa
philosophy did gain wide acceptance in the smarta-pandita community.

In the end Comte and Jaimini held the same philosophy. If one examines the
ideas and activities of the smarta-panditas, one will see that the karma-mimamsa
philosophy is untenable. Why is it not tenable? It is not tenable because it will
never bring true auspiciousness to human society. Secularism, Positivism, or
smarta karma-mimamsa have no power to uproot sins. Rather, for many days they
will make many great obstacles to stop true pure devotion (bhakti) to God,
devotion that is the true purifier of sins. Time after time the karma-mimamsa
philosophy tells devotion to God: “I am your follower. I make people qualified to
follow you. I purify the sinful people and place them at your feet.” These words
are only cheating. They are not sincere. True karma (pious action) is devotional
service to God. As long as karma continues to call itself “karma” it is not a part of
devotional service. When it is truly a part of devotional service, karma calls itself
by the name “bhakti”. As long as it calls itself by the name “karma”, karma is a
rival of devotional service and it always tries to make itself more important than
devotional service. Karma claims that it helps philosophy, civilization, and art.
However, when karma becomes transformed into bhakti, then philosophy,
civilization, and art become much more glorious and exalted. In this place I will
not discuss this in more detail.

Excerpted from Tattva-viveka of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Text 12

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Guru Purnima

Your Cāturmāsya-vrata will be successful when you adopt the vow not to accept any food other than the mahā-prasāda of the bhaktas. When you are thus determined, your character will be purified. You will no longer want to go to the cinema and play on a laptop. Your mind will not automatically run to the internet. This is the power of the pure devotees’ remnants. Nārada was a small child but by the mercy of the mahā-bhāgavata ṛṣis he became determined to also become a fully devoted servant of Bhagavān.


In this verse Prabodhānanda Sarasvatīpāda indicates how Rādhārānī becomes completely absorbed with desire to meet Kṛṣṇa. The amorous desire in Kṛṣṇa reflects in Her heart and then eager to please Kṛṣṇa, She departs for Saṅket, Their secret meeting place in the forest. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatīpāda longs for the chance to carry sandalwood paste, flower garlands, and other fragrant articles for the pleasure of the Divine Couple and to follow slowly behind Śrīmatī Rādhikā as She progresses toward Saṅket. He is praying that in such a situation Śrīmatījī will give a signal indicating what service is needed and in his eternal form he will carry out that service. The true guru-sevaka is like this. He is always eager to serve and receive instruction from Guru-pāda-padma. Rādhārānī does not have to speak in order to communicate the need of a service to be done. She and Her sakhīs and mañjarīs have a heart-to-heart connection. The sakhīs and mañjarīs can understand when Rādhārānī has a desire and each of them can feel when that desire is directed to them. As soon as Śrīmatī desires that a service be done, the Vraja-devīs automatically understand and perform that service. The author is praying for that day when he shares that heart connection with Śrīmatī and the Vraja-devīs and receives orders for service as he—in his form as a gopī—escorts Rādhārānī to the kuñja where She will meet with Kṛṣṇa.

A Guru Only Sees Gurus – France 28 June 1997

A guru never makes a disciple, but to whomever he touches that person becomes like a guru. I honor you like pure devotees, that is why I came. Before sleeping I should take darsana and then I will go from here. I am requesting Navadvipa Prabhu that he should tell us the sum and substance of whether a person is rich or poor, old or young, whether he is sick or not, whether he is pure or impure, whether he is characterless or character full, can he receive bhakti. Bhakti does not depend on this. If there is sraddha, then the entire world, even creepers, animals, wretched persons, high persons—all are qualified for bhakti and bhakti makes them so pure...

Recitation of the Spotless Purana – 12 June 1996

Thus, Suta Gosvami started speaking on the Bhagavatam to protect the Rsis from the faults of Kali Yuga. Presently, what is the main problem? Science has made so much advancement that even a new skull can be placed. We can go from one end of the earth to another within a very short time. Much advancement has been made from the kitchen to the development of atom bombs. It seems that earth can be held in one’s fist. If you want to go to India, then just sit in the airplane and you will reach by tomorrow morning. You can watch a cricket match or a football match in your house. All arrangements have been made. But these advancements have given birth to a problem that science is unable to solve. How can a husband and wife love each other? Science has distanced their hearts; there is no love. A father and son do not love each other. Today, old houses are made for a person’s aged parents. Old people, who are neglected by their family members, stay in these old age homes. Why? A person can take care of a dog, but he cannot take care of his parents? So many such problems have come in this world. The bank balance of a wife is different from the husband’s. The bank balance of the children is different as well. Why is this? No one trusts each other. The qualities of the soul are disappearing. Man has now become like a machine. There is no peace and happiness in his heart. When I go to Kolkata and Mumbai, I see that lakhs of people are on the streets. There is such a big crowd that people push each other and walk. But if one person falls on the ground, no one will pick him up. There is no love among people. Man has advanced so much; but where is the love? The main problem is that there is no love. If there was love, then this world would become Vaikuntha. But, it is very sad that there is no love between one another. People look after dogs because they trust dogs more than fellow humans. The dog will not betray them. If they call the dog, then wagging its tail, it will immediately come. But men don’t trust men. They don’t trust women also. They think, “What if she leaves me and goes somewhere else?” The women also think, “What if my husband leaves me and goes somewhere else?” When a person cannot find solace anywhere, then he commits suicide. People don’t trust even God. This is the main problem of Kali Yuga. So, how will the Bhagavat help? The Bhagavat will help; just listen carefully. The Bhagavat will give what science cannot give. Science cannot answer the question, “Who am I?” Where does life go when the body becomes still and lifeless? Science does not have the answer to this question. If scientists become enlightened, then they will give the answer. The solutions to all forms of problems have been given in the Srimad Bhagavatam. The Bhagavat tells us how we can be happy and how we can love each other. Only by associating with each other in a loving manner, will we be happy in this world. Even donkeys and pigs eat food; but if there is no love, then all kinds of food will be tasteless. Where will the soul go after leaving this body? Therefore, Suta Gosvami offered his obeisance to his Guru and started speaking on the Srimad Bhagavatam. Narada Rsi is a topmost sage. He knows past, present, and future. There is no place in the universe where he cannot go. He doesn’t need a spaceship to go from one planet to another. He can travel by his mind in less than a moment. He is omniscient; he knows what every person thinks. In the course of his travels, he reached Haridvara. Haridvara is a place that lies on the banks of the Ganga. It is the gateway to the Himalayas. Hence, it is called Haridvara. There, he met his elder brothers—Sanak, Sanat, Sanatana, and Sanandana Kumara. These sages are always five years of age. They are always naked. They don’t eat any food. They don’t need air to breathe also. They are always wandering and enlightening people. They are the repositories of transcendental knowledge. There is no such thing that they are not enlightened about. Just by their glance, a dead person will be brought back to life. Whatever they say is bound to happen. When Narada met the four brothers, they asked him, “Oh Narada, why have come here? Your face has dried up? You seem engrossed in thought? Why is this? Why are you sad?” Narada replied, “I am very sad.” “Why? You are a great devotee and are very knowledgeable.” “What can I do? After Krsna ended His Dvaraka lila, I was wandering on this earth. I saw many astonishing sights.” “What did you see?” “I see that the sadhus are not what they were. They speak the Bhagavat to earn money and not for the benefit of people. They do kirtan to earn money also. They want to build big palaces for themselves. But they don’t want to make people’s hearts into temples. Men have become very greedy. They have made women their maidservants. When they so desire, they make the woman leave home. They are only concerned with money. And how are the women? Women have love for their husbands, but it is little. They are only concerned with decorating their hair. There is no celibacy in this world. The King has become a dacoit. He is only engaged in daylight robbery. Even hari-katha seems empty. “Thus, I went in all four directions and found myself becoming very sad. I then reached Vrndavana. There, I saw something very strange. I saw that there was a young lady who had two sons. These sons were very aged. Their hairs were white and they were lying on the ground unconscious. The young lady was crying bitterly. When I came to where they were, the mother became very happy on seeing me. She asked, ‘Are you Naradaji? I am very sad.’ ‘Why are you sad?’ ‘I was born in South India. After taking birth I went to Karnataka. There, I gradually grew. After that, I came to Maharastra. Then I came to Gujarat. When I came there, I gradually became old. My hair turned white and my sons became old as well. All three of us became old.’ ‘Why did this happen?’ ‘We were wandering. Now my sons don’t speak. They are only sleeping. They don’t get up. I brought them along with me to Vrndavana. When I came to Vrndavana, I became a young lady. But my sons remain as they are. I have tried waking them up, but they refuse to wake up. I cannot understand why this is happening.’ ‘All right. I will do something by which your sons will wake up.’ Bhakti-devi told me, ‘Don’t go anywhere. I feel so blissful in your presence. I cannot understand why I am so happy.’ ‘I will make your sons healthy again,’ thus I became absorbed in thought on what could be done for Bhakti-devi’s sons. I took her sons everywhere. I took them to Haridvara; I took them on the banks of the Ganga. I took them to Prayaga. I took them everywhere. I had them take bath at all holy places. On their behalf, I gave so much charity. I did everything. I took them to South India also. I had them bathe in the ocean at Kanya-kumari. I had them bathe in the Godavari also. But nothing happened. I took them to Gaya also, but nothing happened. So, what should I do my dear brothers?” Narada Rsi asked the Four Kumaras. Previously, Narada Rsi had become absorbed in a meditative trance and remembered his Lord. An aerial voice told him, “You need only try and everything will be all right. Bhakti-devi’s sons will become young again.” Narada told his brothers, “I know that they will become all right, but why am I not able to help them? What should I do? I am determined that I will become successful in my endeavors. So, I wandered everywhere and have now, come here to Haridvara. Seeing all of you, I am hopeful that you will show me the right way. Thus, these children will become young and happy again.” The Four Kumaras told Narada, “You are a devotee; you know everything. You do know how the sons of Bhakti-devi will become all right. But, to increase our prestige, you are doing this. Okay. Listen to the essence of the Srimad Bhagavatam. By listening to the Bhagavatam for seven days, Bhakti-devi’s sons will become their younger selves again. And all her desires will be fulfilled.” There is so much potency in the Bhagavat and in Bhagavan’s names. Even very notorious persons change. There is so much potency in the words of the Srimad Bhagavatam. The Four Kumaras started speaking on the Srimad Bhagavatam, and Bhakti-devi heard the recital for seven days. The form of Bhakti-devi became more effulgent and her two sons became normal again. They became youths and smiling, spoke to their mother.


By chanting Kṛṣṇa’s name just once, all your sins, anarthas, and offenses will be destroyed. And then, the sādhaka will be admitted into the realm of prema-bhakti. The sādhaka will then be ornamented with the different symptoms of ecstasy. Crossing māyā, the desire for kṛṣṇa-sevā will completely blossom in his heart. Kṛṣṇa’s name bestows many fruits. Although you have been chanting Kṛṣṇa’s names for a long time, your heart doesn’t melt and tears don’t appear. This is because of offenses. Your love is lost because you have shared it with many others. You cannot use your love for God. In this world only ‘mortgage love’ is found. Like, Kardama Ṛṣi told Devahūti, “I will leave as soon as a son is born. I will stay with you only until our son is born.” Many people think, “The śāstras have stated that a person should be in family life from the age of twenty-five to fifty. So, I will loan myself to one person.” A person says, “If your father gives ten million rupees, I will become your slave.”

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